Your commenting tips

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I consider myself to be a pretty good commenter on others' songs. I try to be specific and positive, and I also try to be as prolific while still maintaining quality. I'm at over 200 comments given now, and I'm pretty sure I can get to 300+ (400 might be a stretch).
I thought it might be useful/instructive to have a thread of your tips for how to go about commenting. How do you decide what to comment on? And then how do you decide what to write?
I created a list to answer both questions today, and then I decided that rather than post the whole list, I'll start with a couple:
I tend to comment on songs that have the least number of comments, but a few times lately I've gone back to the first few songs in someone's profile, even if those are the ones that already have lots of comments.
I try to avoid comparisons to other artists ("This is Dylan-esque") - I used to do a lot of that. But when I do make those comparisons now, I like to think I have a pretty good reason (like "Ever heard of ___? You might like her"). And I don't mind at all those comparisons in comments on my songs.
How do you go about commenting?

This is a great idea, and even drafted a few, of this kind, then said, heck with it, due to, some folks just can't , -- i.e., get it, proceed, or, don't, then skip it. That could be why you revised it, as commented. Why comment, at all?

Here, this one, -- I related to it, feel I can contribute, intent of being helpful, have a friend/be a friend. I have no agenda, no interest to be one of the cool kids, or infringe on the gentry. Public forums are like listening to conversations on a subway -- you missed the 150 prior conversations and enter/leave at different stations.

With that said, -- same for songs. Moreover, only after learning who is as I am, or not.

I think that the really serious folks find each other, be them good, or not yet, but seeking better.

Last song on the list is my first choice. It encourages the most when you know somebody is ( still ) listening what you're doing right now. When zonging I try not to say lots of specific things or compare it to other artists because you have to leave room for others to comment.

I often go for least commented songs. I like to spread my comments evenly. If I find a gem of a song with few comments I try to, hah, compensate.

I read the comments already given and try to come up with some new points of view. Sometimes I even forget to say all the things I like if they have already been said many times.

I used to be real analytical ( as in : "Hey, I KNOW things!" Smile ). Now I'm a bit more into being just encouraging, I hope.

I'm oft analytical
(my interest is vested)
But rarely am critical
Unless it's requested.

Seeing the name of @Stephen Wordsmith reminded me of my bad habit of not commenting much on my collaborators. The logic is that doing a demo of somebody's lyrics-only is the highest from of commenting and compliment. But I should try to change that habit...

I also binge-comment sometimes: I don't read the comments already given and just let it rip for ten minutes and on to the next one. Pardon

i usually go for the least commented songs.

i always comment on most songs that are part of a challenge or skirmish i am in. i also comment on most political and protest songs.

i don't comment on a song if i can't actually say something that at least appears instructive.

i like comments that comment upon how the song hits people-- when i record, i do not mind if it reminds someone of a certain song or artist, and i will occasionally make such comments myself.

i will bust zongs frequently if they linger on someone's page.

@Klaus: I agree with the postulate that 'doing a demo of somebody's lyrics-only is the highest from of commenting and compliment.' The single greatest comment I can receive on any of my lyrics is, 'here's a demo'. I don't need to go into what the single worst one is.

@Stephen Wordsmith
Just be glad your name isn't Stephen Singleworst. Wink

I came here with a friend, FAWM this year, we both, engaged another forum for about two years that was useless, "sounds good, like it" was it. And it was like getting it from "mom" who loves all you do : ), as-is. Well, actually, not useless (that's me being brief : ) ... I realized that if all I did there was evaluate others work, (correctly, technically, in context as encourager) I would get far better at evaluating my own, on my own, since only got, "sounds good, like it" : ) Well, there's lots more to that, but I know how some here are irritated by long posts, so editing the inductive as well as I can : )

Conversely, for others there, -- you had to be a mind reader to know what they sought as input, until the first comment, which then, -- produced a massive explanation of why you were so wrong in what you said. (Like turn down the Reverb so we can understand you.? Well, maybe not that far.)

Back to useless.

Then came, templates to frame, --input requests; feedback templates too. Those were beyond capability of 90% there, who may not even tune their guitar to 440. So, them telling you they played G C D, meant nothing : ) , let alone an inversion with embellishment. (Which, it then was : ) There were some chords, no one could figure out, per Std Tuning : )

Then, lots other happened. Then, I found FAWM this year, through yet another collaboration forum, and we came here.

Again, it's a great thread idea and I will read it with interest. I have a feeling, that, nearly any scenario, over the years, that may have ever held constructive input, did, and is why FAWM is as it is, -- useful, consistently +-, nothing's perfect, free or well paid for : )

What I like or simply that I enjoyed listening.

@barbara: In that case, I'd hope that that issue would never come up!

@Stephen Wordsmith: Of course it never would. I failed to think that all the way through. (chagrined)

@barbara In all likelihood, we'd find the converse happening all the time. But that's enough about me.

@Klaus - Interesting that you read the other comments first. I try to avoid that so I'm not influenced. But I can see why you would, so you can try to say something new. On the other hand, if a bunch of comments are about your awesomely original guitar riff, then maybe you really do have an awesomely original guitar riff.
By this point in 50/90, other than reciprocating, I'm commenting on songs that have been recently posted and on songs by people who are active in the forums.

It's so fun and inspirational to hear and read what other creative people are doing. Because I have a day job that allows me to listen to lots of songs at work, I get to comment lots. My comments range from simple 'I like that' to 'this has a great hook' to 'this song made me feel/think/remember' something. I don't worry if I say something someone already said or that my comment isn't super technical, I just say what I think, and hopefully it inspires the writer somehow. As far as picking which songs to comment on, I usually just go to the first page on the recent songs list and pick interesting titles or genres. Sometimes I will specifically de-zong, but not often. If I'm going to reciprocate a comment, then I go to the writers page and try to comment on a recent one, because those are the ones I like to get comments on.

I tend to reciprocate as a starting point, at least that is my goal. I pick a recent song, or a "favorite" most often. I also do random picks of zongs as they are born on the songs link. Sometimes I can't listen because of things going on around the house so jump into lyric-only. Any time I'm part of a skirmish I visit everyone's songs, and of course listen to the offerings of the two challenges I started. I hope I'm a bringer of encouragement. If something hits me as a possible change I'll consider it, but only after checking out the person's main page to get a sense of how long they've been writing or whether or not they stated they welcome recommendations. I remember how frightened I was to share at first, and know too much "help" on songwriting would have convinced me I should stop. Knowing a song has been listened too was huge for me so I tend to always let someone know I listened. If I really didn't like anything about it (rare but happens) I stick to things like "Well done on completing ## songs so far." FAWM and 50/90 to me are about letting creativity flow, and also about feeling connected to other people creating, so that's the level of commenting I normally stick to.

Well here's something aimed at those who want to reply to Comments - DON'T DO IT ON YOUR OWN COMMENTS PAGE!!!
Go to the person's Soundboard and reply there, otherwise they'll never see it!
I hate to see people shouting in to the void!

Actually, not entirely true. 50/90 is set up better for seeing comments that reply to comments than the main FAWM site is. But I still get the "go visit the soundboard" thing. As far as how I comment... I like to be encouraging as I can and I do like to comment on low-comment, zongs, and on people who I follow. (If you get lots of comments from me, I probably have you on my watchlist. And if I demo a lyrics-only song, it means I like your lyrics.)

I strive to find something I like, be supportive and positive, knowing we are all cranking out tunes. I also comment in skirmishes, challenges, and based on my watch list. I strive to go the the general song list and comment on different people who posted recently, also by reciprocating comments. I learn a lot by listening to others songs.

Interesting comments, (and approaches) to commenting. I find so.much here that parallels my own comments. I really don't mind comparisons, no matter how flattering. I am trying to curb doing that personally, because I am really more interested in originality. And I have found it. So many here have succeded in finding their voice. 50/90 has never been better. Now I am off to hear more!

Oh my, third post here, well, I am on vacation and do have wifi... So..., continuing from prior conversation(s) ... -- how I felt and saw from others as per the lyric content (psych input?) I try to proceed.
(Again, public forums are like conversations on a NYC subway, do you really know what they're talking about?...)

Hard to believe, but I've been making "noise" since 6yo. And, then had opportunities, from then till now. I don't regret my choices.

Anyway..., in finding music again, for me, until I got 100% total strangers saying, "hey like your stuff too"... I figure few others did. Didn't care, but would like it if folks did, -- I do this no matter what. Who doesn't t like effecting/affecting others positively.

The Busking concept, for me, * feedback, was the most helpful. Clean, honest, brutal, and useful. If ghosts of any kind, walking by said hey, "nice little song there : ) ", and love your music, playing and voice, -- that made a helpful compositional element I found useful -- wasn't seeking it, just happened. Happens here too. Some folks like only one kind of music, but, there is a middle of the road, range folks too, -- harder to find today, though.

I find, regardless of present ability, the most passionate dolks do find each other here. Seems to be sustainable here, too.

They do seem to figure out how to -- communicate, substantially.

kc5's picture

Since lyrics is my stronger interest, I tend to read lyrics and if they are really good, I get quite involved until I realize "Oh, there's music to this" or not, Mainly I focus on lyrics because they interest me, but also because my "music" language is limited in comparison to someone who knows music. I often will comment on lyrics foremost, but all I really CAN comment on regarding music is the appeal, else I'll be found out how much I DON'T know about music. There have been some lyrics, either by @Stephen Wordsmith or @tsunamidaily (I forget which, maybe both?) that I have read that intrigue me, but again, if I don't know the history or backstory or get the symbolism, I might not comment, though I was fascinated with their wording or mind pictures. Sometimes, I go from one lyric to the next that one person has written without commenting (sorry), mostly because my brain is tired. I actually read a lot more lyrics than I comment on. Some days I have lots to say, others I don't. Call me inconsistent, because that's what I am and that's what my schedule is. If by chance I do say something that sounds a tiny bit critical (it wouldn't be a criticism really, it would be a recommendation for tweaking it for improvement), you know you've got something that I see lots of potential in and have pretty much enjoyed. I wouldn't do that for a song I didn't consider worth the effort. In regards to receiving comments--anything that helps me to improve my song or helps me to learn how to improve my writing is greatly appreciated, so comment away your thoughts for improvement, but if you say something like, "The vocals are off", back it up with where, how and what can be done to improve it.

I always found it kind of hard to make meaningful comments on songs in these challenges. I'm just not really that confident I know anything that would truly help anyone. After all, if I knew what the real deal was, I'd be using that knowledge to make myself rich and famous and fly around the world in Iron Maiden's private jet.

Besides that, there's really only two things I ever observe here. The first is that most of these songs are a bit rough and unpolished (possibly because of the whole 50 in 90 thing). The second is that some people here are not as experienced as others. So the only advice I can sincerely give people is just keep going. Commit to songwriting and playing and performing, because plugging away at it for a long time is how you get good. Don't be timid about it and hide behind excuses like "it's just my little hobby", be ambitious and throw yourself into it.

This year, I've done most of my listening via the jukebox, and when something pops up that I respond to, I make a point of commenting. I try to convey something of what the song sparked in me intellectually or emotionally, because I think that making a connection with the listener is important, and I want to let the songwriter know that they managed it.

And the occasional pun sneaks in from time to time, too. Wink

I try to reciprocate every comment left on my songs (though I sometimes miss, I'm sure). I also try to make a practice of commenting on a few songs every time I post a song. Then in I'm involved in a challenge or a skirmish I try o comment on some others in the same. Sometimes I just look for zongs that look interesting, or I'll go through the tag cloud and look for tags that look interesting. That can also lead tone directions in my own song writing.

@katpiercemusic - I too try to comment on a few others every time I post a song. And just about every time I post in the forums, too.
Also, I do a good amount of commenting when I'm doing housework, as I'm doing now. I fold some clothes, comment on a song or two, fold some more, comment, put dishes from sink to dishwasher, comment ... That's today's routine.
Occasionally I'll find a song here I'd love to cover, and I'll say so - and of course they are songs I like, but just as importantly they are songs I feel I could do justice to given my talents. I love listening to the electronica and prog-rock here (and a lot of it I'm downright in awe of), but that's just not something I can do.
But then I forget to mark those songs I want to cover!
Also, regarding those who have already hit 50 - remember, any songs beyond 50 go to a second page, so when you find someone with a trophy next to his/her name, look for a second page, too. I just found a great song that way.

@Chip Withrow
re: losing track of the songs you wanted to cover

Here's a tip just in case you don't already know about it (or maybe there are others here who might not know yet). When you go to your "Comments" page, you can also pull up a list of songs you have commented on. You have to scroll down past any comments you may have received on collabs to find the link just under the banner for "Recent Comments." It reads: "To see a list of songs you have commented on click Here." The hyperlink will create a list which looks like the Songs page, but only displays the songs that you've commented. You'd have a chance to be reminded of your potential covers that way.

An alternate idea (for next time) is to proactively mark the ones you want to cover by clicking the "Save this Song" feature (located right after the lyrics) on any songs you want to remind yourself to revisit later for whatever reason. Then, by clicking on the "My Saved Songs" link, you'll get a handy list. I do this often for songs I might listen to at a time when I can't conveniently comment. I can then go back to them when I'm ready to type. That opens up drive-time as listening time! It's also a cool way to make a favorites list just for listening to again, when the song isn't downloadable.

Well, on this Subway ride, 5090, in which we jump in/out of conversations, over time, and in/out different stations... another skew based upon a few more subway ride, conversation insights, I overheard 3 seats away : )
(knowing I missed 150 others that I can't know of)...:

I think, "here", what I like to do is, preface what I am about to comment. Then, see it as, "like"my own work, and if was, and there was something there, what would I do to amplify that, -thing. Then, I do, I comment that. I limit my explanation, but do explain, -- since I speak in searchable words, that will lead to further explanation.

The somewhat, so to speak, negative skew is, "I'm here to write", indeed. So, take the "selfish" : ) approach and give an authentic run at analysis of another's song, you know/think you can make better, -- your OWN writing will get better, I promise, full refund if not satisfied : ).

-- Vwah lah, the WIIFM paradigm fulfilled. : ) LOL!

Again, try it, it will clarify itself. Again, tell the person, "wow, this something here", and "I am ... etc." there are at least 3 Threads where specific folks exist, for which to do this, no explanation needed.

For those who don't like this, or understand it, cool, no pressure to change "here", but why squash it? You don't like vanilla ice cream, cool, -- leave it alone. Easy. Why sit across from them, on the subway ride making sour faces each time they take a bite? Likely not the intent, yet, may be a thought? So, think, about it : )

Surely, folks are watching and as is a known issue, won't be the first to go, for those very specifically targeted threads... truly then, why here? To write, right? Rite! : ) All of this IS about writing, and your improvement.

The fact is, read the comments, are they about, the song/comment, or very revealing of you who comment. 100%, it is about the commenter, not the subject target, song.

However, how else would I ever have known, this one liked this and why (new direction for me), or dislike that, and they changed direction, in their own work, -- and so did I.

-- Communication, is longitudinal, and in a song you have 10secs to grab attention, 1 min to convey a mind picture, and 30 secs to wrap it up, 100 secs can be a life time, "on stage" : ) Hahhh... ...